This West London day school balances academic achievement with a creative and dynamic curriculum that is taught with a down to earth approach that encourages girls to be leaders, debaters and confident public speakers. It’s more than enough to make this one of the top day schools for girls in the capital.
While the school is justifiably proud of its academic excellence (and the many awards it has won for best Prep and Best Senior schools in the UK), it is far from being simply an academic hothouse. This is a forward-thinking, ambitious school where girls learn within a relaxed and supportive (but still very focused) environment. It’s a school where girls don’t just learn about leadership, they become leaders. It’s a community of grounded, confident and independent girls who leave with much more than A grades.
Founded in 1873, the school has always had an outstanding academic reputation. Located in Ealing, this city school is popular with families in the Ealing, Chiswick and surrounding areas.
It’s the oldest of the schools founded by The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) and is a strong advocate for single-sex education. As a single sex school, the priority and focus at NHEHS is always on girls and what’s best for them – but there are no female stereotypes. Students are encouraged to ask questions and succeed in every subject and activity, although STEM subjects are by far the most popular at A Level.
Kindness is embedded in the school culture and girls feel genuinely supported here. Girls learn leadership as Playground Pals and house leaders; there’s a Big Sister scheme for girls in Year 7 and a Vertical Group network for all girls; and the school builds a strong, welcoming community through excellent communication with parents and its “door is always open” policy.
NHEHS goes well beyond the National Curriculum for England. In the Junior school, there are specialist lessons in computing, music, science, Mandarin and PE; the girls learn Mandarin from Years 2-6 and can choose to learn French and German in extra-curricular clubs. Learning is very much focused on finding each girl’s strengths, whether that is academic, musical, artistic or sporting.
In the Senior school, languages taught include Mandarin as well as a carousel of French, German and Spanish; Latin is studied in Years 8 and 9. GCSE options include Mandarin, Spanish, French, German, Latin, history, geography, religious studies, art, drama, music, computer science, and design and technology.
The excellent Da Vinci Programme for Year 10s encourages cross-curricular learning by asking students to discuss topics as bold and exciting as ‘Are you the sort of person who would join a cult?’ and “Being a Man: Exploring Modern Masculinities’. It offers girls a valuable opportunity to learn about different issues and topics beyond the GCSE curriculum. As one student says:
“In each session I have learnt something new about each topic which I think is amazing. It has opened my eyes to different issues and topics which I didn’t know much about before.”
In the Sixth Form, all girls take four subjects (there’s a huge list of 25 different subjects) and many also take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Students have the freedom to choose any combination of subjects. There’s also a carefully planned enrichment programme of lectures and lessons that is fun, teaches practical and social skills, and help girls to stand out from the crowd; it puts the spotlight on subjects from food chemistry to French surrealism that may otherwise be overlooked in a girls’ education.
The school values sport and the creative arts, and this is reflected in the curriculum and beyond the classroom.
Learning doesn’t just happen at a desk and chair here. NHEHS regularly brings learning to life through visits, lectures and activities linked to the curriculum (the school’s London location really helps to enable this).
NHEHS wants girls to try new things and uncover hidden talents, and its huge extra-curricular programme of activities (many run by Sixth Formers) is there to do just that.
The school also wants all girls to “find their voice” and to learn leadership. Debating is embedded across the school, and there are weekly staff–student debates. Headmaster Matthew Shoults returns to the classroom to teach public speaking to girls ever week.
From Years 7-13, students are given the responsibility of leading different parts of the school – a club, the school magazine, a school productions, training as a pool lifeguard, running a music group or ensemble, or sharing an experience in assembly. Years 12s run the House System and Years 13s take on roles such as subject secretaries who organise fortnightly lectures by visiting speakers. It’s all a brilliant lesson for life, as Head Mr Shoults says:
“There is no better way to equip our students for the future than by having them learning “on the job” how to bring a project to fruition.”
In 2021, 56% of grades at A Level were A*, 83% were A*-A, and 95% were A*-B. In the same year, 66% of GCSE grades were a 9, 88% were 9-8, and 96% were 9-7.
In 2021, 89% of students secured a place at their first-choice university, and there were five Oxbridge offers. Leavers destinations include a long list of some of the UK’s leading universities, and a wide variety of degree courses; 40% of girls went on to take STEM-related degrees.
The Senior school campus has been brought into the 21st century in the past 20 years and, thanks to investment from the GDST, students have some fantastically modern, flexible and well-designed specialist facilities. For sport, there is a 25-metre indoor pool, four-court sports hall and dance studio. The arts have been given a huge boost with a new 100-seat theatre, music recital hall, recording studio, music practice rooms, and art studios. There’s also a new Sixth Form Centre and multi-function hall.
But it doesn’t stop there. In 2024, NHEHS will open a new Junior School building with new classrooms, a science lab, facilities for art, science, ICT and the creative arts, and a library. Outside, there will be new play spaces including a science garden and forest school.
The key points of entry are 4+ (Reception) or 7+ (Year 3) in the Junior school, and 11+ (Year 7) in the Senior School. From Year 3, applicants sit formal entrance tests in English, Maths and reasoning, and may be invited for an informal interview.
For 11+, NHEHS is part of the London 11+ Consortium and for 2023 entry, all 14 schools in the Consortium will be using the same entrance test.
The majority of Junior school girls receive an unconditional, confirmed offer of a place in the Senior school. About half the girls who join in Year 7 come from state and independent schools, and about half come from the NHEHS Junior School.
Annual fees are £15,252 for the Junior school and £20.868 for the Senior school.
Good for: Notting Hill and Ealing High School is proud of its community of grounded, confident and independent girls – and rightly so. This is a school where you expect your child to achieve strong GCSE and A Level results (just look at the consistently excellent examination results) while also achieving great things in art, drama, music and sport. Girls are expected to work hard here, but it's the school's friendly and warm environment that can inspire a love for learning and the motivation needed to achieve top grades.
Not for: The selective admission criteria may put some parents off, the city centre location may be too urban for some, and it is definitely not an academic hothouse. Also, as an all-girls day school, so will not suit families looking for a co-ed or boarding education – but there are plenty of options within London that do.
If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.
Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information